LumberJocks

Is this RAS worth it?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by JCamp posted 12-14-2016 02:16 PM 626 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View JCamp's profile

JCamp

476 posts in 389 days


12-14-2016 02:16 PM

Topic tags/keywords: radial arms saw miter saw

http://chillicothe.craigslist.org/tls/5899114731.html

In my local CL someone has a older Dewalt radial arm saw for sale for $100 obo. I lik the price but I’ve seen some of u talk about how unsafe they are or how they always need tuning. Is it worth it at that price? I’m wanting to upgrade my regular old miter saw to a 10inch sliding compound miter saw anyway so if I buy this RAS I won’t b getting my new one. It’s an either or situation. Tell me ur thoughts.

-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might


15 replies so far

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

9772 posts in 3267 days


#1 posted 12-14-2016 02:35 PM

Apply that $100 to a good SCMS. You won’t regret it.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View Cooler's profile

Cooler

299 posts in 682 days


#2 posted 12-14-2016 02:51 PM

Keep the old miter saw. It will undoubtedly be more portable and lighter than any sliding miter saw.

The issue with radial arm saws is that they feel smoother and slicker when the sliding bearing are a bit loose. If you tighten them they roll just fine but you feel a slight amount of resistance. That is what you should feel.

When the sliders are a bit loose the blade can ride up on the stock and race back towards you. That is the “danger” that radial arm saws represent.

If you grab the carriage and try to lift the end slightly and you feel any slack, then you need to adjust the bearings.

Here is a discussion on how to adjust the Craftsman RAS. Once you open the unit up you should see something similar. Read this first: http://eberhardt.bz/GME_Wood_Land/GME_Woodworking_Stuff/2_Tool_Tune_Ups/7_Tuneup_Radial.pdf

-- This post is a hand-crafted natural product. Slight variations in spelling and grammar should not be viewed as flaws or defects, but rather as an integral characteristic of the creative process.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4762 posts in 2332 days


#3 posted 12-14-2016 04:06 PM

A good RAS is infinitely more useful than any miter saw (IMHO, of course) and by good I mean the older Dewalts and/or the Delta/Rockwell turret arms (throw in the Northfield Unipoint if you can afford it). But when I refer to the “old” Dewalts, I mean the ones older than in your link. That one (yours) can be made to be a servicable saw, but for the same price (and a little patience) you can get one of the ones that have the solid cast iron arm. Look for models like the 1030, 1200, 1400, 925, MBF, and there are quite a few others. The solid cast iron arm saws will always have the elevation crank at the top of the column in the back, and no applied cover to the top of the arm. Typically, those who caution against an RAS due to it’s inaccuracy are basing their opinion on ownership/use of a Craftsman RAS, and they were (mostly) indeed the pits…..owning one could make you curse the day you first heard the acronym “RAS”. Those who eschew it not being safe all have their own reasons, none of which I agree with. We are, after all, entitled to our own opinion. But in use it’s no more dangerous than any of the other tools we routinely use…you just have to know the proper way to use it. Back to the saw in your link, I would pass on that one and keep looking.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Ted78's profile

Ted78

324 posts in 1839 days


#4 posted 12-14-2016 04:28 PM

I like RAS. I don’t currently own one but they do get a bad rap that is not deserved. The higher end Craftsman saw is actually fine (works best wired up for 220) but some of the 80’s lower end stuff was junk. Their Table saws too for that matter.

You can probably get a nicer saw than that one for $100, but if cash is tight you could also offer less for that one. If he wants to sell I doubt he’ll get too many bites at $100. RAS are just out of favor at the moment.

Crosscutting is a lot nicer, no need for table saw sleds and such, with a cross cut or miter nothing is sliding over anything else. you can clamp the work to the table top and then cut if you chose. the face the work references against is also a lot wider than any table saws miter gauge. You can also make wider crosscuts typically.

Ripping on the RAS is a pain though, Table saws rip much better than RAS, on the plus side RAS only need a shop long in one direction to both rip and crosscut. Table saws take up a LOT more space.

-- Ted

View Cooler's profile

Cooler

299 posts in 682 days


#5 posted 12-14-2016 05:28 PM

Dadoes are a breeze with a RAS. But make sure you have a dado head with a negative hook angle. Replace the rear fence on the saw once it is setup and you have a perfect alignment indicator. For making shelf units, it is perfection. Draw the layout lines, slide the board so that the layout lines align with the notch the dado head made in the rear fence and make your cut.

You can also make very accurate miters with a miter fence. Cut your miters on opposite sides of the blade for perfect miters. I made one from an aluminum square. I simply screwed the aluminum square to the table and made a cut right through the aluminum. Then put your moldings on the left side of the blade for the left side piece and on the right side of the blade for the right piece.

Assuming your square was 90 degrees, you will have tight fitting miters. One side might be 44.95 degrees and the other side might be 45.05 degrees, but they will always add up to a perfect 90 degree miter.

-- This post is a hand-crafted natural product. Slight variations in spelling and grammar should not be viewed as flaws or defects, but rather as an integral characteristic of the creative process.

View MrUnix's profile (online now)

MrUnix

6010 posts in 2038 days


#6 posted 12-14-2016 05:52 PM

Those who eschew it not being safe all have their own reasons, none of which I agree with.

+1

The RAS is kind of a swiss army knife type of woodworking tool that can perform a lot of different functions, most of which are extremely safe. Ripping stock is NOT one of those however! That’s when you walk over to the table saw or band saw. I have both an RAS and miter saw. The main advantage to the miter saw (or SCMS) is that it has a small footprint and is portable, or at least a lot more portable than the RAS. It’s good for taking the saw to the work, instead of taking the work to the saw. Around the shop, the RAS is king, and the miter saw gathers dust. YMMV

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

2716 posts in 1319 days


#7 posted 12-14-2016 06:28 PM

That saw will be better than any Craftsman of similar vintage but I agree with Fred, its not one of the old cast iron workhorses we all know and love. I had an 1950 ish DeWalt/AMF & the motor was weak and when it finally wore out the rewind was too costly to justify. For me, the only gamble would be the motor.

There is no question the biggest problem with a RAS is changing anything once they’re dialed into 90 and tracked. Cooler is correct make a miter fence rather than change the head.

I know its a like/don’t like thing, but the SCMS has largely replace the RAS for good reason, the main one being safety.

I use the MS for exact Xcuts/miters but reserve the RAS for rough xcuts and the rare unusual angled dado operation. The issue with using it for dados is 1) power (try a 3/4 X 3/4” deep dado in 8” of hard maple!!) and 2) the saw has to be checked for accuracy all 3 ways (square to fence/blade tracking/depth of cut along length) all 3 of which can seem to change on their own!!

Bottom line: Put the $100 toward a nice SCMS.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View moke's profile

moke

1036 posts in 2615 days


#8 posted 12-14-2016 06:35 PM

There are some awesome points made here. I had a RAS and got rid of it for space reasons and because I bought a sliding Miter. I do miss it for certain things. If you are building shelving of any sort they are awesome. They make awesome dados and cut wider shelves than a slider can. I must admit, I never cared for the open blade right by my hands and the can catch and chew up some good stock…..hang on to the head!
The one I had, I had to replace the bearings and rebuild the top, but I like to work on my machines…..my biggest complaint is that is was big and took a lot of space.
I do enjoy my slider, and I feel it is more accurate, but I do miss the RAS at times too…...
So if you have the room….and you don’t mind working on it a time or two…..go for it.
Mike

-- Mike

View MrUnix's profile (online now)

MrUnix

6010 posts in 2038 days


#9 posted 12-14-2016 06:50 PM

I know its a like/don t like thing, but the SCMS has largely replace the RAS for good reason, the main one being safety.

I actually consider the SCMS less safe and much less capable. The RAS has a fixed arm that can’t pivot up. If the blade tries to do a climb cut for example, it will typically just dig in and stall the motor. If you were to accidentally hit the stock with the blade on an SCMS while pulling it back, you will see just how dangerous it can be (and if you are anything like me, it will scare the crap out of you when it does)!

Cooler is correct make a miter fence rather than change the head.
- rwe2156

+1 to that! I had a homemade deal for mine that I used with great success for stuff like picture frames and cutting trim. Recently, I got a ‘real’ miter vice (brand new and still in the box) as part of the stuff included with another RAS I purchased. I’ve used it a couple of times and it is dead nuts accurate and easier to use than my homemade affair.

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4762 posts in 2332 days


#10 posted 12-14-2016 07:46 PM


The RAS has a fixed arm that can t pivot up. If the blade tries to do a climb cut for example, it will typically just dig in and stall the motor.

Cheers,
Brad

- MrUnix

I wish more folks understood that. I just shake my head when I someone describes how the saw just “ran at them” when they tried to cut.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Cooler's profile

Cooler

299 posts in 682 days


#11 posted 12-14-2016 08:10 PM


The RAS has a fixed arm that can t pivot up. If the blade tries to do a climb cut for example, it will typically just dig in and stall the motor.

Cheers,
Brad

- MrUnix

I wish more folks understood that. I just shake my head when I someone describes how the saw just “ran at them” when they tried to cut.

- Fred Hargis

That is true only if the arm bearings are properly adjusted. If they are too loose there can be enough slack to allow the blade to make a run at you. And a poorly chosen blade can make this a very dangerous tool. I suspect that lousy maintenance and inappropriate blade choice amounts to 99% of the accidents blamed on the RAS. I don’t know which is the bigger culprit.

-- This post is a hand-crafted natural product. Slight variations in spelling and grammar should not be viewed as flaws or defects, but rather as an integral characteristic of the creative process.

View Woodmaster1's profile

Woodmaster1

855 posts in 2426 days


#12 posted 12-14-2016 09:15 PM

I have both a radial arm saw and a miter saw. I have not used my miter saw in a year and I use the ras at least 3 times a week. For anything other than 90’s I use the table saw.

View Cooler's profile

Cooler

299 posts in 682 days


#13 posted 12-14-2016 09:31 PM


I have both a radial arm saw and a miter saw. I have not used my miter saw in a year and I use the ras at least 3 times a week. For anything other than 90 s I use the table saw.

- Woodmaster1

I have a table saw, a radial arm saw, a miter saw and a dedicated sliding table miter saw (left over from my picture framing business). I use which ever is best suited. I am disinclined to dispose of any of these. They all do at least one thing better than all the others. The miter saw seems best for crown moldings. The radial arm saw for short cutoffs and short dadoes; the sliding table miter saw for smaller moldings (especially when there are repeat cuts) and the table saw for all else.

-- This post is a hand-crafted natural product. Slight variations in spelling and grammar should not be viewed as flaws or defects, but rather as an integral characteristic of the creative process.

View Roy Turbett's profile

Roy Turbett

137 posts in 3418 days


#14 posted 12-15-2016 01:12 AM

I don’t understand the argument that a RAS has a larger footprint than a SCMS. My 10” Bosch SCMS takes up more bench space front to back than my 10” DeWalt GWI and I can swing the arm of the RAS out of the way if I need more space. The new Bosch articulating arm SCMS may be smaller, but the older ones aren’t. But they are much easier to transport than a RAS.

View JCamp's profile

JCamp

476 posts in 389 days


#15 posted 12-15-2016 09:12 PM

I didn’t wanna leave u all hanging
First off I appreciate all the replies an info regarding my question
Secondly I passed on the saw. I did go look at it Looked lik a nice saw. I decided to pass on it due to some of the issues u all mentioned here. Two of biggest were that it had to b stationary an one was that it would hav take up to much space in my work area. I hav some spare space but I’d prefer not to dedicate it to one tool that will only b used every now an then.
Anyway I got there looked it over an decided against it but I’ve been wanting a bandsaw for years but was always to tight to pay for a new one or the used ones were to high. The guy had a big craftsman in the corner that he was also selling so I ended up bringing it home. Looks pretty decent An came with two blades the original owners manual an a “new” pack of sanding belts.

-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com